Updated: August 2, 2021 10:37:51 pm
THE BOMBAY High Court told Monday the Centre, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to consider setting up a dedicated television channel and radio programmes so that students, including specially abled children, particularly in rural areas, do not suffer due to lack of internet connectivity during the pandemic.
The court pointed out that there were several TV channels for entertainment and movies and asked the I&B Ministry why it couldn’t consider a dedicated education channel for students, including hearing and visually impaired pupils.
“Why cannot there be full-fledged devoted channels for education, not only for specially abled students but for those who have suffered? We have to go back to old technology now as the network issue will continue,” the bench said. It sought the central government’s response on the matter by August 5.
The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) seeking relief for visually challenged students in accessing education during the pandemic.
On behalf of the petitioner, advocate Uday Warunjikar submitted that many schools in Maharashtra, especially in the rural areas, did not have proper infrastructure for online education, and students, including the specially abled ones, were apprehensive of losing an entire academic year due to lack of access to such facilities, therefore, the government was required to cater to their requirements at the earliest.
The court suggested that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) counsel Rui Rodrigues get in touch with the Ministry officials for considering a dedicated education channel for all students during the pandemic and also asked the Centre and the state governments to explore the option of imparting education through Doordarshan and Akashvani.
“We have Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha TV channels. In future, the judiciary may also live stream hearings. Why cannot we have a channel for education? There are hundreds of channels for movies and entertainment, not one for education. We cannot have only colleges, schools and no academics. People in rural areas might not have funds to buy smartphones, but they need to get access to education, especially during a pandemic,” the bench said.
The bench asked NCERT’s counsel to get feedback on its suggestion from the Centre by its next hearing on August 5 and asked it not to wait for a court order to implement such a decision.
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